The Nidaros Cathedral and Old Town Bridge

by Steve
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A picture of the Choir Area and Octagon of the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway.

A four hour train ride from Lillehammer to Trondheim, brings me to the third largest city in Norway.  There are many different places to go while sightseeing in Trondheim, but I chose to visit two of the main historical landmarks.  The first was the Nidaros Cathedral and the second was the Old Town Bridge over the Nidelva river.

But before I get into telling about my visit to these two landmarks, let me share with you my thoughts and pictures from the train ride from Lillehammer to Trondheim.

Train Ride from Lillehammer to Trondheim

The train ride from Lillehammer to Trondheim is approximately four hours on an NSB train.   When I travel on these longer train rides in Norway, I prefer to upgrade my ticket to the comfort section.  I can choose my seat using the NSB application and have a nice table to work on.  The trains have free WiFi and almost always have a very good connection.  By doing this, I can work on this blog and get caught up with emails.

The problem with working on the train is that it’s hard to stay focused!!  The scenery outside is beautiful, especially with the snow Norway has had this winter.  Each time we rounded a bend the lighting and/or panorama would change.  Since the train wouldn’t stop for those of us who were taking pictures, I had to settle for pictures taken through the window.  Even then, the landscape was still beautiful!  Once you see the pictures below, you will understand.

A picture of the view from the train from Lillehammer to Trondheim

View from the train from Lillehammer to Trondheim

A picture of a train station in the mountains of Norway

Train station in the mountains of Norway

A picture of the view of the mountains from the train from Lillehammer to Trondheim

View of the mountains from the train from Lillehammer to Trondheim


Trondheim is a western coastal city located in the middle of this very long country.  Comparing latitudes, Trondheim sits about  halfway between Anchorage and Nome, Alaska!!  No wonder it’s chilly up here!

If you didn’t know, Norway has the greatest length of any European country with 1/3 of the country located above the arctic circle.  For those of you reading this from the United States, Norway is slightly larger than the state of New Mexico.  As I mentioned earlier, Trondheim is the third largest city in Norway.  It’s population is approximately 190,000 people.

Trondheim was founded in 997 and served as the capital of Norway during the Viking Age.  The city was occupied by the Nazis from April 9, 1940 until the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945.  Trondheim was part of the famous “Atlantic Wall”, the defense system that Hitler built along the western coast of Europe and Scandinavia.  During the war, the city also became a large submarine base.

But let’s move away from war time and visit the number one attraction in Trondheim.

Nidaros Cathedral

The Nidaros Cathedral was built from 1070 to 1300 and sat over the burial site of Olaf II Haraldsson, a Viking king and Norway’s national saint.  The cathedral is the traditional place where the King of Norway is consecrated.

A picture of the outside of Nidaros Cathedral

Nidaros Cathedral

The cathedral was a catholic cathedral until the Reformation.  Since that time, it has served as the cathedral for the Lutheran bishops of Trondheim.  The cathedral has been ravaged by fires and also struck by lightning, but it is recognized as the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world.

The West Front is the main entrance into the cathedral.  The north tower (tower on the left) is where the largest church bell in Norway hangs.

A picture of the West Front of the Nidaros Cathedral

The West Front of the Nidaros Cathedral

In the early 19th century, the cathedral was in a state of disrepair.  In 1869, restorations began on the cathedral and have continued for the past 150 years.  The statues, seen in the picture below, were restored around the turn of the 20th century.  Many prominent Norwegian sculptors contributed to this restoration.

A picture of the statues on the West Front of the Nidaros Cathedral.

The statues on the West Front of the Nidaros Cathedral

Inside the Nidaros Cathedral

The cathedral is very long as seen in the picture below.

A picture of the inside of the Nidaros cathedral from the west end

The inside of the Nidaros cathedral from the west end

This was taken from underneath the large pipe organ down the full length of the nave and choir section.  The cathedral is in the shape of a Latin cross as many churches and cathedrals are throughout Europe.

There are two altars.  As you walk through the nave, just before the transept (arms of the cross) intersects the church, is the first altar.  The crucifix on this altar was donated by people from Trondheim who have emigrated to the United States.

A picture of the altar in the nave of the Nidaros Cathedral.

Altar in the nave of the Nidaros Cathedral

Moving further into the church, one crosses the transept and sees the choir area and the octagon of the cathedral which includes the second altar.  This is the featured image in today’s post.  The octagon is the oldest part of the church.  It is said that one of the churches which could have inspired the Archbishop to design the Octagon is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem which we visited in our trip to Israel.

I want to say thank you to the administration of the cathedral.  There are many copyrights within the inside of the church for the stained glass windows and the staff are very respectful of those.  After reviewing my blog, they did give me permission to take some pictures inside the church, but not of the stained glass masterpieces. If you are interested in learning more about Norway’s national shrine, click here to visit the Nidaros Cathedral web page.

Old Town Bridge in Trondheim

The Old Town Bridge in Trondheim crosses the Nidelva River.

A picture of the Old Town Bridge and the Nidelva River in Trondheim

The Old Town Bridge over the Nidelva River in Trondheim

The bridge was first constructed in 1681 after the great fire.  At that time, this bridge was a part of the fortification of Trondheim and was of strategic importance due to its location in protecting the city.  It remained a guarded city gate until 1816.  As with many historical landmarks in Europe, it has seen many changes throughout the years.

A picture of the Old Town Bridge taken while sightseeing in Trondheim.

Sightseeing in Trondheim – The Old Town Bridge

Today the Old Town Bridge is one of the identifiable historical landmarks of Trondheim.  It’s also known as the “Gate of Happiness”.  The name came from lyrics of a waltz by the Norwegian singer and composer, Kristian Oskar Hoddø.  According to tradition, he wrote the lyrics while standing at the bridge.  This was in April of 1940 shortly after the Nazis began their occupation of Norway.  Hoddø was a member of the resistance movement and was later executed by the Nazis.

On To the Vikersund Ski Flying Hill

Up next is another train ride.  This ride will be eight hours, back through Oslo and west to Drammen.  This is the largest city near Vikersund where the ski flying hill is located.  For those of you following along, you know I attended the 2018 Ski Flying World Championships in Oberstdorf.  The Vikersund Ski Flying Hill is one of the four ski flying hills on the World Cup tour and is the final stop for Raw Air 2018.  Hope you’ll follow along.


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